We have been trying to count our 20 month old's vocabulary and are trying to decide if words which she has learned incorrectly (words which are said correctly but may require further context for a listener) count to a professional?

As an example, a 7 year old sibling introduced some 20p coins ( as twenty pees ) and now pee is used to mean money. She's correct that a coin would be something 'pee' but would you count it?

  • I feel the question in the title should be rephrased - but I can't come up with anything good. Maybe "Should out of context words be counted when estimating baby's vocabulary?"
    – Dariusz
    Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


A professional might count it separately, but it's very common for children that age to use specific words in a general context or vice versa. For example, my kids used the word "Daddy" to mean "any man" for a while. "Ball" might mean "any toy" or "something you throw." That's just a natural part of having a limited vocabulary. As your vocabulary grows, you are able to make more precise distinctions.

  • Funny: I have a coworker from another country and he's still learning the language. Same story: limited vocabulary, also mixing general with specific words. Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 6:21

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